Local News Articles

Finley signs baseball scholarship with Martin Methodist

April 22, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Another DeKalb County High School student-athlete has signed scholarship papers, and will continue his athletic career on the collegiate level. Trey Finley, a left-handed pitcher for the Tiger baseball team, signed papers, Tuesday morning, with Martin Methodist College, an NAIA school located in Pulaski, TN.

Red Hawks assistant coach, Michael Wallace, was on hand for Tuesday morning's signing, and is excited about having Trey join the Martin Methodist program. "One, he picked up the ball with his left hand, and left-handed pitching is hard to come by," said Wallace. "He has nice velocity for a high school player. He can throw strikes, he has the ability to work and comes from great parents and is a high-character kid."

Finley chose Martin Methodist over Vol State, and feels he made a good choice. "It's a good school for my education and they have a good baseball program," he said. "I know they beat Cumberland, this year, and Cumberland is usually a good team."

Finley said there are things he wants to work on as he prepares to jump to the next level. "Maybe cut down my pitch count and add a little velocity."

Wallace said the Red Hawks program has had some succees, and is hoping for a nice end to this season. "Since 2000, we've had five players drafted or signed (by Major League Baseball teams)," he noted. "We went to the Regional in 2003. Right now, we're sitting at 27-19-1. If we play well this weekend, we have a chance to finish fourth in our conference. Hopefully, we'll make a good run in our upcoming conference tournament and have a shot to get back to Regionals."

Martin Methodist is a member of the TransSouth Athletic Conference, a division of the NAIA. George Ogilve is the team's head coach.

Municipal Swimming Pool Set to Open Memorial Day Unless Delayed by Repairs

April 21, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool is scheduled to open by Memorial Day but needed repairs could force a delay.

The issue was discussed during Monday night's city council meeting.

Secretary Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson says Donald Page from the Department of Health met with city officials earlier this month and made some recommendations. "On April 15th, he came out and gave a consultation and had a list of suggestions on what he thought needed to be done before opening the pool. He commented on the interior of the pool being rough as far as the liner goes. We have limited lights. He said only 50% were functional and we need to look at getting those repaired. I'm not sure if it's the wiring or not but I believe that's what it is. There's been some uplifting of some of the concrete around the pool or part of the deck. I'm not sure what all needs to be done there but he had some suggestions. Depth markings. I believe that can be fixed fairly easy but he suggested that as well. And the hand railing needs to be repaired."

Jimmy Lewis, operator of the golf course and swimming pool, said based on Page's advice, he can't open the pool until the repairs are made "He told me not to even get the permits until that was fixed. The liner has cracks in it and our insurance won't cover it. You'll have to re-fiberglass it. The fiberglass has got to be redone. We're supposed to open Memorial Day but it takes two weeks to get it filled up and the water right and people are already calling about booking summer swimming parties."

Alderman Tonya Sullivan says rumors are going around town that the pool is not going to open.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson responded, saying " I don't know where that's coming from. We will do what we can do and what we can't do we'll have to get it done by someone else. We'll let a professional look at it. Whatever has to be done we will do. Our maintenance people can do some things like maybe the concrete, the lights, and the hand rails."

Since the repair costs are unknown at this time, city officials are not certain if there is sufficient funds budgeted to make the repairs, or if a budget amendment will be needed.

In other business during the city council meeting Monday night, the Aldermen voted on first reading to adopt an ordinance changing the zoning classification of two lots from R-1 low density residential to B-2 general business. The lots belong to Phillip W. Cantrell, located in the Trudie Vickers Subdivision on Short Mountain Street between Meadowbrook Drive and Green Acre Drive. Second and final reading action will come following a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, May 5th at 7:00 p.m.

Regina Wilhite of Woodmen of the World presented new flags of the United States to be flown by the city and county and at Greenbrook Park.

Police Chief Richard Jennings also informed the board that the city is making application for grants on behalf of the department.

Smithville Police Charge Truck Driver with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

April 21, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 45 year old truck driver, hauling freight to Shiroki North America, Inc.,was arrested Friday after police found him possibly under the influence and with drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings says James Martin Ducket of 361 Morgan Branch Road, Weaverville, North Carolina is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Ducket's bond is $1,000 and his court date is May 1st.

In his report, Officer Travis Bryant states that on April 18th at 9:00 a.m., he, Officer Randy King, and K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow responded to SW Manufacturing at 1111 West Broad Street in regard to a truck driver acting strangely and possibly under the influence of an unknown substance. Contact was made with the driver and he identified himself as James M. Ducket.

Officer Bryant states that while the officers were talking to the driver, it became apparent that he was under the influence of an unknown substance. The officers asked for permission to search the truck and they were given consent. The K-9 was brought in and the dog hit on a bag in the vehicle. Upon further investigation, a small leather bag was found containing one glass pipe, two spoons, and several resale baggies that were empty. Several empty straws, other baggies and medicine bottle containers were also found in the truck. The Tennessee Highway Patrol was requested to check the driver's logs and they were found to be inaccurate.

Meanwhile, in another case, 37 year old Michael Edward Brown of 6763 Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with theft of property over $10,000 and theft of property over $500.

Chief Jennings says Brandy Fitts reported to police that she had spent the night last Thursday visiting her cousin at Royal Oak Apartments, 670 Miller Road and that when she awoke the next morning she discovered that someone had dumped the contents from her purse, taken her keys, $500 in cash, and had stolen her 2007 Plymouth van which was parked outside.

Fitts identified Brown as a possible suspect in the theft, since he had also been at her cousin's house Thursday night but was gone Friday morning.

Police recovered the vehicle on Friday in the city and arrested Brown on Monday.

Brown is under a $12,500 bond and his court date is May 29th

The case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr.

In another case, 43 year old David Spencer Vaughn of 714 South College Street is charged with theft of property over $5,000, theft under $500, and 14 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.

Vaughn is accused of stealing a 2000 Honda Passport SUV and a credit card belonging to his father, Eugene Vaughn of 714 South College Street. The alleged thefts occurred on Monday, April 14th.

Vaughn was arrested Saturday at the home of a friend on Restview Avenue.

His bond is $42,500 and he will be in court on the charges May 29th.

The case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr.

Meanwhile, 26 year old Josh Wayne Goff of 416 Mocking Bird Drive, Dunlap is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license

Officer Matt Holmes, in his report, states that he observed Goff driving south on Short Mountain Street in a Honda Accord on Monday morning. Another officer advised Holmes that Goff did not have a valid drivers license. Officer Holmes stopped the vehicle on Odom Street and discovered that Goff's license was suspended for failure to satisfy citations. Goff's bond is $3,000 and his court date is April 30th.

Sheriff Issues Update on Recent Arrests

April 21, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has picked up two more people on drug charges who were named in Grand Jury sealed indictments this month. Other arrests have also been made within the past week.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 41 year old Melissa Jean Petty of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville was arrested Tuesday on a sealed indictment for sale of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid), delivery of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid), attempt to sell a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) and attempt to deliver a schedule II drug (Dilaudid). Total bond was set at $25,000 and her court date is set for June 20th.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says on Thursday, April 3rd which was the night of the drug roundup, deputies and detectives went to Petty's residence on Banks Pisgah Road to arrest her. Upon arrival, officers saw 25 year old Ashley Jerome Ferrell of Banks Pisgah Road with a shotgun standing in Petty's yard. After retrieving the shotgun from Ferrell, officers learned that the gun was stolen in DeKalb County. Ferrell also had in his possession a pill believed to be methadone, rolling papers and a small amount of marijuana. Detectives also noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the residence. Detectives executed a search warrant at Petty's residence and found a stolen computer, another computer with the serial numbers scratched off, and drug paraphernalia (rolling papers and a marijuana grinder). Ferrell was charged with simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana), simple possession of a schedule II drug (methadone), possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of stolen property. Ferrell's bond was set at $6,500 and his court date is June 5th.

27 year old Randy Allan Caldwell of Young Ridge Road, Sparta was arrested Friday on a sealed indictment for sale of a schedule II drug (dilaudid) and delivery of a schedule II drug (dilaudid). Caldwell's bond was set at $25,000 and his court date is June 20th.

24 year old Johnny Lynn DeVault of Talpha Drive, Dowelltown was arrested Thursday for DUI and evading arrest. Sheriff Ray says deputies had a state warrant on DeVault and spotted him on Highway 70 West. Officers tried to pull over DeVault, but he did not stop and continued on for approximately one mile until reaching his residence on Talpha Drive. After DeVault pulled into his driveway deputies took him into custody. The officers also noticed a strong odor of alcohol on DeVault's person and administered field sobriety tasks which DeVault failed. DeVault was arrested for DUI, evading arrest, and he was issued a written a citation for failure to comply with the implied consent law. DeVault was placed under a $2,500 bond and his court date is May 15th

21 year old Timothy James Howard of McCledehon Road, Watertown was arrested Sunday on Highway 53 in Alexandria after deputies, who had knowledge of Howard's Driver's License being suspended, spotted him operating a motor vehicle. Howard was charged with driving on a suspended driver's license and his bond was set at $2,000. His court date is May 14th.

DCHS Graduation Set For May 23rd

April 20, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A total of 155 students at DeKalb County High School will receive their diplomas during graduation exercises Friday, May 23 at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.

The program will feature remarks by the Valedictorian, a Class Officer, and Principal Kathy Hendrix. The prestigious White Rose and Citizenship Awards will also be presented to three outstanding members of the class. Diplomas will be presented to each graduate by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. The DCHS Chorus is also expected to perform.

The honor students will also be recognized including the 2008 Valedictorian Nicholas Winchester and the Salutatorian Adam Emerson.

Other students earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 in addition to Winchester and Emerson include John Malone, Tayla Turner, Lacey Beshearse, Jessica Harney, Dennis Young, Jessica Dyer, Tyler Woods, and Victoria Martin.

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Mykel Cantrell, Daniel Foutch, Steven McCormick, Kayla Fish, Colton Rhody,Dustin Hood, Tyler Robinson, Travis Woodward, Jessica Paschal, Dustin Jennings, Joshua Cantrell, and Dustin Estes.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Joseph Carroll, Alisha Billings-Turner, Brittney Armour, Andrew Collier, Cody Thomas, Lauren Hansard, Natasha Hendrixson, Lindsy Ervin, Chase Ferrell, Katie Herman, Emily Summers, Anna Marie Walker, Roger Curtis, Jake Hoover, Justin Duke, Geraldine Wilson, Carla Barnes, Justin Stewart, Anthonique Tubbs, James Finley III, Zachery Rowland, Trisha Neiberger, Grant Goodwin, Jeffrey Cantrell, Joshua Gilbert, Chase Cantrell, Michael Elliott, Corey Turner, Lacey Parchman, Jacob Moore, Amber Evans, Shaun Reed, Justin Lattimore, and Jeffery Woodside.

Members of the DCHS Class of 2008 are as follows:

Kayla Nicole Adams, Kristen Danielle Adcock, Brittney Nicole Armour, Linda Sue Bain

Brenda Nicole Bain, Caleb W. Baines, Carla Marie Barnes, Casey N. Belcher, Lacey Racquel Beshearse, Dustin James Bogle, Joseph Michael Bowen, Mason L. Brandt, Carl Bratcher, Nicholas Byrge

Abby Lauren Cantrell, Alexandria Catherine Cantrell, Brittney Maxine Cantrell, Chase Wyndom Cantrell, Jeffrey Tyler Cantrell, Jerry D. Cantrell, Joshua Ray Cantrell, Mykel Anthony Cantrell, Joseph Edward Carroll, Kirby Noel Close, Andrew Brent Collier, Kayla M. Conners, Tosha M. Cook, Leah Danielle Cooper, Brittney Lynn Corona, Corey L. Cripps, William Tyler Cripps, Casey W. Curtis, Roger Dale Curtis.

James T. Davis, Scott A. Dean, Brandon Lee Dillon, Justin Vaughn Duke, Jessica Lynn Dyer

Jeremy Daniel Eakes, Heather Nichole Eley, Michael Andrew Elliott, Adam E. Emerson, Lindsy Shae Ervin, Dustin T. Estes, Amber Nicole Evans

Chase Ferrell, James Finley III, Kayla Michelle Fish, Daniel R.H. Foutch, Tiffany Danielle Frazier

Jacqueline Marie Gibbs, James Matthew Gibbs, Joshua Clay Gilbert, Misty Dawn Gingerich, Grant Joe Mason Goodwin, Hermenejildo Gopar Ordaz, Kristina Renee Gray, Brittney Nicole Gregory, Michael Tyler Griffin

Daniel Steven Haggard, Brandon Lee Hancock, Lauren E. Hansard, James Alan Harden, Jessica Lynn Harney, Alicia M. Hedtke, Natasha Renee Hendrixson, Katie Allison Herman, Dustin S. Hood, Jake M. Hoover, Joshua D. Howard, Johathon Wade Hummel, Thomas C. Hutchins

Dustin Benjamin Willard Jennings

Cody T. Keaton, Timothy M. Kosirog

Justin Ryan Haston Lattimore, Dustin Lee, John Phillip Leichtfuss, Andrea N. Leon, Bridgette D. Linder

John Weston Malone, Adam Manning, Victoria Hope Martin, Jacob Terry Maynard, Sarah Elisabeth McBride, Steven Daniel McCormick, Matthew W. Melton, Shane Tyler Mims, Jacob Taylor Moore, Casey Patrick Myrick.

Samantha Leigh Napier, Trisha Nicole Neiberger, Maverick D. Nokes, Brianna Katelyn Nolton, Kayla Elizabeth Norris, Amie Nioka Norton

Joshua M. Owens

Jennifer Louise Pack, Bray Page, Lacey Brooke Parchman, Jessica Danielle Paschal, Christopher Lee Patrick, Collin L. Patterson, Terry Layne Pedigo, Dustin A. Pedigo, Keshia L. Poss, Matthew Plumb, Jeffery Ryan Puckett

Manuela Quezada

Nicholas Jordan Ramsey, Jessica Dawn Ray, Shaun N. Reed, Colton M. Rhody, Kaley Ann Robinson, Tyler McKay Robinson, Jennifer Lynn Rogers, Zack Rowland, Juan Rivera Ruiz, Christopher William Rupp,

Adrianna Brelle Seals, Benjamin McKenley Sears, Kristel Marie Shumake-Bush, Thomas Paul Smith, Corey A. Snyders, Colt Stewart, Crystal Renee Stibil, Emily Kay Summers, Randy Summers

Cody Ray Thomas, Brian McKinley Trapp, Mary Margaret Tripp, Anthonique Eugenia Tubbs, Corey L. Turner, Alisha Kay Billings-Turner, Tayla Bree Turner, Amber Rose Tyler

Justin Vanatta

Annamarie Walker, Spencer Wallace, Susan Princess Renee Walls, Natasha Ann White, Zachary Paul Wilbur, Calvin J. Wilkerson, Mary S.Williams, Jessica Danielle Willis, Dustin Tyler Wilson, Geraldine Anna Wilson, Nicholas Colt Winchester, Tyler James Woods, Jeffery Kevin Woodside, Travis R. Woodward, Jonathan D. Wright,

D.J. Yarbrough, Dennis Ryan Young, and Tara Nicole Young

Teachout Injured in Thursday Night Accident

April 20, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 23 year old Smithville man was injured in a crash Thursday night around 10:48 p.m. on the Jefferson Road.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Michael Frederick Teachout was traveling west on Jefferson Road in a 1996 Honda Civic when he left his lane of travel, entered the eastbound lane, exited the roadway to the left, slid sideways and made an angle impact with a large tree. Teachout was partially ejected out of the passenger side window.

Teachout was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Others on the scene providing assistance included DeKalb EMS, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

Trooper Jennings says Teachout has been released from the hospital.

He says speed and alcohol were contributing factors in the accident and charges are pending.

Two Arrested on Drug Charges Thursday by Smithville Police

April 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department made two drug arrests Thursday.

28 year old Crystal L. Thompson of 633 Highland Drive is charged with simple possession.

In his report, Officer Matt Farmer states that he was called to a disturbance at the Dairy Queen in Smithville on Thursday at 10:37 p.m. Upon arrival, the officer approached a female (Thompson), who was involved in the disturbance, and noticed that she kept putting her hands in her jacket pockets. He asked her to pull her hands from her jacket pockets. When she did, a small plastic bag containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, fell out. During a search subsequent to arrest, the officer also found on Thompson two empty green capsules with residue, believed to be morphine, labeled Kadian 100 milligram. Further charges may be pending.

Thompson is under a $1,000 bond and her court date is May 1st.

Meanwhile in a separate case, Smithville Police arrested 18 year old Adam Colton Ware of 45 Chapel Hill Road, McMinnville and charged him with simple possession of a schedule VI drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

K-9 officer Bradley Tatrow, in his report, states that on Thursday at 11:53 p.m. he observed a vehicle traveling on Broadstreet which did not have a license tag on it and the driver appeared not to be wearing a seatbelt. After stopping the vehicle and talking to the driver, Officer Tatrow says he smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. As he looked in the backseat where passengers were seated, he saw a package of rolling papers sticking out from under one the passenger's legs. Upon receiving consent to search, Officer Tatrow found a baggie of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in the floor board in the back seat. The package was found directly under where the back seat passenger (Ware) was sitting.

Ware is under a $2,000 bond and he will be in court on the charges April 24th.

Mother and Daughters Involved in One Vehicle Crash

April 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A mother and her two daughters were involved in a one vehicle crash Friday morning on Highway 56 south near Smithville Nursery.

Lieutenant Brian Lawson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 36 year old Tammy Patrick of Smithville was driving south on Highway 56 in a 1998 Mercury Villager Mini-van when the vehicle dropped off the roadway, struck a culvert, and overturned before coming to rest in the southbound lane on it's wheels facing west.

Patrick and her daughters, 13 year old Maggie Parsons and 6 year old Chloe Patrick were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Lieutenant Lawson says Ms Patrick was treated for some scrapes and bruises while the six year old may have suffered a broken arm. Parsons was apparently uninjured.

Both Ms Patrick and Parsons, a front seat passenger, were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash while the six year old was a rear seat passenger, restrained in a booster seat. Both airbags deployed upon impact.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team was called to the scene to remove the mother from the van. Green says although she only had minor injuries, Ms. Patrick was entrapped by the driver's side door and the door had to be forced open by the department's extrication unit. The Keltonburg Station of the DeKalb County Fire Department was also on the scene to render assistance.

Illinois-Indiana Earthquake Felt in DeKalb County

April 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A strong earthquake that rattled parts of southern Illinois and Indiana early Friday morning was felt in DeKalb County.

The quake, given a preliminary magnitude of 5.4, occurred about 6 miles from Mount Carmel, Illinois, 66 miles from Evansville, Indiana and about 131 miles east of St. Louis, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It took place about 2 miles underground and struck about 4:36 a.m.

Clata Redmon, who resides on Barnes Mill Road in the Jefferson Community, says she was awakened by popping sounds in the house. "It was about ten minutes til five this morning when I was asleep and something woke me up. It sounded like a popping sound here at the house. I decided to get up an investigate but I didn't find anything. It only lasted maybe three or four seconds. When I got up and turned the television on I noticed they said that in Evansville, Indiana there had been an earthquake so I realized that's what I experienced here. That's the only thing I know would make the house pop like that. The house didn't shake, it was just popping."

Central dispatch reported receiving a few calls from concerned persons inquiring about what was happening.

The quake occurred in the Illinois basin-Ozark dome region that covers parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas and stretches from Indianapolis and St. Louis to Memphis, according to the USGS.

DUI Bills Progress in State Senate Judiciary Committee

April 18, 2008

The State Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would add vehicular homicide as a result of the driver's intoxication and aggravated vehicular homicide to offenses requiring mandatory sentencing. The bill requires those convicted to serve 100 percent of the sentence imposed by the court, less sentence credits earned, which assures that at least 85 percent will be behind bars.

The bill was sponsored after the death of David Hudson, of Piney Flats, who was hit crossing a Johnson City street in December by a man whose blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit. The man, who was charged with vehicular and aggravated vehicular homicide, had four previous DUI convictions dating back to 1989.

Judiciary Chairman Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) who also support the measure said, “We must get these repeat offenders off our roads. We have several bills before our General Assembly this year that would provide comprehensive reform of our DUI laws.”

Also approved by the Judiciary Committee was a bill that would increase DUI fines by $250. Part of the money would be kept in the local communities where the crime occurred for housing offenders or law enforcement needs. The other half would be used for alcohol or drug addiction treatment. The bill is expected to provide $1.5 million to the state and $1.5 million to local governments.

Finally, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation to ban open containers of alcohol in vehicles. The bill, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) would allow Tennessee to have control over $12 million in federal highway funds, which the state does not currently have due to not being in compliance with federal safety laws.

“The law presently on the books is merely an invitation for someone to drink and drive as long as there’s a passenger that they can ‘pass the bottle’ to if they get pulled over by law enforcement,” said Beavers. “This legislation will provide safety for our citizens and help us access needed road funds.”

Two bills stiffening penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers were approved this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee. One bill would provide that a killing of a law enforcement officer during perpetration of a felony would be elevated to first degree murder under the felony murder rule, making it a death penalty offense.

The bill would apply to cases, like one in involving the shooting of Trooper Calvin Jenks, who was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop near the intersection of Highways 14 and 54 in Tipton County. During the stop, Trooper Jenks smelled marijuana from the vehicle and was told by the driver that there were drugs in the center console. When he asked the passenger if he had any drugs, the man produced a handgun and opened fire, striking Trooper Jenks once in the head and once in the body.

The second bill, sponsored by Senator Beavers would create a new felony offense for assault on an officer.

Both bills would apply in cases of the intentional killing of an officer. It also applies to cases where the officer was killed in the line of duty.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation requiring those convicted of aggravated robbery or especially aggravated robbery offenses to serve 100 percent of the sentence, less sentence reduction credits of up to 15 percent to keep them on the straight and narrow while in jail. Senator Beavers said the bill is modeled after a Florida law passed in 1999 that significantly reduced armed robberies after its implementation. Currently, those convicted of armed robbery in Tennessee are eligible for release after serving 30 percent of their sentence.

The committee heard testimony from Mary Anne Purcell, whose fiancé was killed last fall in an armed robbery of the Nashville restaurant he managed. The killer and his accomplice got away with only $200. Purcell said current sentences are ineffective to deter the crime. She said the brief jail time served by most are a “slap on the wrist” and often embolden gang members to continue a life of crime, as their status is raised by serving time behind bars.

“We must address the serious crime of armed robbery,” said Senator Beavers. “Our current laws are not working as a deterrent. This legislation would keep these criminals off the streets and protect our citizens.”

Spring Sales Tax Holiday begins Friday, April 25

Tennessee’s spring sales tax holiday is set to begin at 12:01 on Friday, April 25 and will end at 11:59 on Sunday, April 27. During this designated three-day weekend, consumers may purchase selected clothing, school supplies and computers without paying Tennessee’s state and local sales tax on the items. It applies to clothing priced $100 or less per item and computers priced $1,500 or less. This holiday also includes purchases of qualified items sold via mail, telephone, e-mail, or Internet if the customer orders and pays for the item and the retailer accepts the order during the exemption period for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period.

“I hope that as many people as possible will take advantage of this sales tax holiday,” said Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet). “It will hopefully provide a boost to the economy, while helping our citizens enjoy some tax relief.”

Senator Beavers sponsored the bill in 2007 that created this sales tax holiday and also reduced the sales tax on food by .05%.

Details about the state's special Sales Tax Holiday are available at the state’s dedicated Web site, www.tntaxholiday.com. The Tennessee Department of Revenue also offers assistance to consumers via e-mail, Salestax.Holiday@state.tn.us, and through its toll-free statewide telephone hot line, (800) 342-1003. Staff is available to answer questions Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. (Out-of-state and Nashville-area callers, please dial (615) 253-0600.)

Issues in Brief

Notary public – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation this week to require any person who is a notary public to be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.

Lethal injection ruling – The U.S. Supreme court has cleared the way for states to carryout their death penalty statues with a ruling on Wednesday that lethal injection does not violate the U.S. Constitution. Tennessee had stayed executions while the nation’s high court considered the Baze v. Rees case that claimed lethal injection was “cruel and unusual.” The legislature has worked diligently to address barriers to carrying out the death sentence and for restoration of Tennessee’s death penalty law by changing the method of execution from electrocution to lethal injection during the 1998 session. Before that time, the state has not executed a prisoner convicted of capital crimes in 38 years. Edward Jerome Harbison had been scheduled to die in January for the beating death of an elderly woman. The execution of Paul Dennis Reid, who was sentenced to death for multiple fast food restaurant killings, was also stayed due to the Supreme Court case.

Handgun permits – Legislation that would send $15 of the handgun permit fee to county sheriffs, who must do a background check on applicants, passed the Senate Finance Committee this week. The sheriffs have been conducting the background checks without being reimbursed by the state while extra money collected above the cost of processing the permit has been accumulating in a reserve account. Testimony in the committee revealed that $5.5 million has gone into a reserve account due to excess charges of the $115 initial handgun permit fee.

Sex offenders – The Judiciary committee voted to approve legislation that requires sex offenders to report to Tennessee’s Sexual Offender Registry all name changes or names different than those listed on their original registration form. The bill would make it clear that sex offenders cannot change their name to skirt the law regarding sex offender registry requirements.

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